Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Local Attorneys Work Assembly Line to Kick Off Food Drive
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
Nearly 100 attorneys from 30 law firms joined retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lawrence Crispo at the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank yesterday to assemble care packages for nearly 600 Los Angeles county residents and kick off the inaugural Food from the Bar campaign.
The campaign, modeled after a similar program with the same name sponsored by the Bar Association of San Francisco and San Francisco Food Bank, will run until May 15 and includes food collection, fundraising and volunteer opportunities for members of the legal community.
Manny Abrascal of Latham Watkins, who helped organize the campaign, explained that the food drive is also a competition among participants, with points being assigned for each contribution of time, food, or money.
The winner “gets the glory, the pride, the bragging rights, and maybe a bag full of food,” Abrascal said.
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Natalie Stone of Munger, Tolles & Olsen LLP, another organizer of the event, said that she and Abrascal approached the Food Bank after she saw a news story about the rising demand for assistance from food banks throughout the state.
“I knew there was a way the legal community could make a difference,” she said.
Michael Flood, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, a non-profit charitable organization established in 1973 which says it provides over 700,000 meals each week, said that demand for food from his organization has “increased rapidly in the last six months,” and “is up 30 to 40 percent from last year.”
He estimated that nearly 11 percent of county residents are in some need of assistance from the Food Bank.
Yesterday’s kick-off campaign involved a competition among participating attorneys to see which team could prepare the most care packages, with Crispo presiding.
Representatives from each participating law firm and organization were divided into teams—based on the four main food groups—and stationed along a conveyor belt to create as many care packages as possible in a 10-minute shift.
The packages will be distributed in the coming days to senior citizens in need of assistance throughout the county.
The two teams with the highest total number of properly assembled care packages moved on to a second round, where they raced each other to put together 50 backpacks full of food to be distributed to students at Main Street, Normandie, Ninth Street and Eastman Elementary schools.
Howrey attorney Michael Resch, a member of the winning Fruits and Vegetables team, said yesterday’s competition was “very fun,” but that he was “exhausted” after the events.
Stone also said she was tired after moving the 33-pound boxes on the assembly line, but admitted “it felt good to work up a sweat” rather than “break into a sweat from stress,” which happens on a more regular basis.
Crispo jokingly commented that he enjoyed seeing “all these hard-working lawyers finally doing some physical work,” but turning more serious added, “it’s really kind of inspirational to see.”
The former jurist said he hoped other attorneys would be motivated by the participants in yesterday’s event to join in the food drive and encourage additional law firms to support the cause.
Stone opined that yesterday’s turnout was “proof of how much people want to help out,” and said she hoped that the Food from the Bar program will spread nationwide.
This year’s Food from the Bar participants include Alston & Bird LLP; Bingham McCutchen LLP; Bryan Cave; Davis Wright Tremaine LLP; the Office of the Federal Public Defender; Fulbright & Jaworski; Hennigan Bennett & Dorman LLP; Howrey LLP; Jackson Lewis LLP; Jones Day; Kirkland and Ellis; Latham & Watkins LLP; Legal Administrators of Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Bar Association; Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP; McGuireWoods LLP; McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP; Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP; Morrison & Foerster LLP; the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office; O’Melveny & Myers LLP; Paul Hastings; Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges LLP; Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hamptom LLP; Sidley Austin LLP; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; the Office of the U.S. Attorney; WilmerHale; and the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.
Individuals or law firms interested in participating in the campaign are asked to contact the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank.
The Los Angeles County Bar Association has also announced that bins are available in its lobby to collect nonperishable food products for the food drive.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company